HeinOnline's Tip of the Week: Searching for the "History of Bills and Resolutions" in the Congressional Record Daily Index

The index volumes of the Daily Congressional Record include a specific History of Bills and Resolutions section that many of you find useful in your research. If you find yourself often wanting to search for a bill or resolution within this section in the Congressional Record Daily Index, then you’ll find this tip helpful. This week’s tip outlines where to find the History of Bills and Resolutions section in HeinOnline and how to conduct a search across just the History of Bills and Resolutions section in the Daily Index volumes.

First, let’s quickly touch on where you can find the History of Bills and Resolutions section in HeinOnline’s U.S. Congressional Documents collection. From the collection home page, click on Congressional Record Daily and then click on 2006 to expand the volume contents. Click on the first index listed, "Index to Nos. 131-136 (December 4, 2006 to December 27, 2006)" to open the index volume.

Once the index is opened, click on the Table of Contents tab to display the table of contents in the sidebar. From the table of contents, you will see the section labeled "History of Bills and Resolutions, Index".

Now, let’s take a look at how we can search across this section for a bill or resolution. In building this search, we will first retrieve the History of Bills and Resolutions section of the index volume we are looking for. Then, we will use the "search within these results" feature to find the bill or resolution. In our example, we want to find the history for Senate Bill 895, which is the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Act of 2006. We know the bill appeared in the Daily edition on December 6, 2006.

Click on the search tab in the top left corner. Then click on Field Search. Enter "History of Bills and Resolutions" into the first search box, click on phrase and select Section Title from the drop down menu. Now, since each index volume has a History of Bills and Resolution section, we have to narrow our dates to get the specific volume we want to search across. To do this, enter the date "December 6" into the second search box, click on phrase, and select Text from the drop down menu. Now, from the title listing, highlight the Congressional Record Index (which includes only the Daily Indexes). Then insert 2006 into the begin and end date fields. Click search.

This will give us 1 result, 152 Cong. Rec. H.B.1 (2006), which is the History of Bills and Resolutions section of volume 152 of the Congressional Record Daily Index. Now that we have retrieved the History of Bills and Resolutions section, we can "search within these results" to locate a bill or resolution. Click on the "Search Within These Results" button.

When looking for a bill or resolution, it’s important to understand that in the History of Bills and Resolutions section, each number is followed by a dash. Therefore, with lucene searching we must accommodate for the dash using a wildcard search when entering our syntax.

Enter the following syntax into the search box, text:895*, and click search. The * after the bill number acts as a wildcard character, which will accommodate for the dash that is found directly following the bill number.

This will return 1 result that is a direct link to S. 895 in the History of Bills and Resolutions section.

When going about this type of a search, there are a few things to keep in mind:

First, when entering the bill or resolution number, do not enter the prefix into the syntax (S., H.R., H. Con. Res., etc.). A wildcard character cannot be used in a phrase search. Therefore, if you include the prefix, such as "S. 895*", you will get several hits just for the letter S.

Also, when searching within the results for the bill number, you may get more than 1 hit to the bill or resolution number due to the wildcard. For example, if we had searched for H. Con. Res. 410 in the above example by entering, text:410*, we would get results for all numbers that begin with 410, including things like S. 4100, S. 4101, etc. In this case, we would have to scan the results for H. Con. Res. 410, which happens to be the 2nd result.

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